ADP 2012: Town Hall USA with Former Members of Congress

ADP is excited to announce that our friends at the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC) will be partnering with us to bring you a Town Hall USA plenary session at the ADP/TDC 2012 national meeting in San Antonio. Here are the details:

Friday, June 8 | 9 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. 
Plenary: Town Hall Meeting USA with Former Members of Congress  
Discuss today’s most pressing issues—including Congress’ civility/bipartisanship crisis, the 2012 elections, and the important role of public service in our democracy and how to foster it—with two former college professors and members of Congress. This informal and open session includes ample time for audience Q&A. This session is offered in partnership with the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress and its Congress to Campus program.   
Moderator: Alberto Olivas, Director, Center for Civic Participation, Maricopa Community Colleges (Ariz.) 
Presenters: The Hon. Dan Miller (R-FL, 1993-2003) and The Hon. Jerry Patterson (D-CA, 1975-1985)

Learn more about FMC in the guest blog post below, and be sure to talk with Liz Ardagna about bringing their Congress to Campus program to your college or university!

See you in San Antonio!

Jen Domagal-Goldman, ADP National Manager 

Former Members of Congress Continue to Serve Via the Congress to Campus Program

By Elizabeth Ardagna, Member Services Manager, U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress

“Democracy is not a spectator sport; for our system of government to work effectively, we need bright and dedicated Americans to make themselves available for public service. I’ve never been part of any other program that was nearly as successful as the Congress to Campus program in increasing awareness of the importance, and value, of entering the public arena. We show the real face of public service and the good it can do, and as a result, we encourage others to see government as a vehicle for the public good. I love the program.”
-The Hon. Mickey Edwards (R-OK, 77-93)

For over 35 years, the Congress to Campus program of the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC) has been cultivating opportunities for students and former Members of Congress to have face-to-face discussions about current issues, the value of public service, and how students can (and should) become active participants in representative government.

The Congress to Campus program (CtC) brings bipartisan pairs of former Members to college, university, and community college campuses across the United States and around the world for two and a half days of packed programming. While on campus, former Members visit with students in a variety of formats, including classroom discussions, Q&A sessions, roundtable talks, open forums, meals with students, and interviews with campus and student media. Since the host school plans the former Members’ schedule, educators can decide how to best utilize the team’s time.

Congress to Campus

The goals of Congress to Campus are to connect with students, strengthen understanding of how Congress does (and does not) work, and inspire the next generation of leaders to be politically engaged. The CtC’s “R” and “D” former Member teams demonstrate that civil—yet still partisan—discourse across the aisle is not only possible, but productive. CtC facilitates an environment in which informal and personal discussions between former Members and students create candid conversations about the role of the U.S. Congress and why all citizens should be actively engaged in civic life.

Additionally, in a recent effort to promote bipartisanship and a more civil political discourse, FMC has created the Common Ground Project (CGP). The goals of CGP are to encourage current Members of Congress  to interact with more respect, so that meaningful dialogue leads to bipartisan solutions to our nation’s dire issues; to foster a more civil and productive political dialogue among American voters; and to restore the public’s faith in its elected representatives and combat some of the misconceptions and cynicism that are attached to the Congress. FMC seeks to accomplish these goals via public panels at the National Archives, budget simulations for students with the Concord Coalition, and roundtable meetings with current Members of Congress.

FMC—founded in 1970 and chartered by Congress—strives to promote public service and strengthen representative democracy both domestically and abroad at no cost to the taxpayer. FMC utilizes the diverse skill set of its Members to help educate the public and create healthy dialogue to foster productive solutions to our nation’s most pressing issues.

Through vital initiatives like the Congress to Campus program or Common Ground Project, FMC works to connect students and citizens with the former Members “who have been there,” fostering unprecedented understanding of why America has the greatest democracy in the world, and how to strengthen and improve it for generations to come.  

To learn more about FMC or how to bring Congress to Campus to your school, contact Liz Ardagna at 202.507.4847 or eardagna@usafmc.org. You can also find her and a bipartisan former Member team at the ADP’s Annual Meeting—during Friday’s 9:00am Plenary Session (Town Hall Meeting USA with Former Members of Congress), Saturday’s 7:00am Breakfast Breakout Session (U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress), or Saturday’s 11:30am Campus and Friends Showcase.

Please visit FMC’s website at www.usafmc.org and follow us on Twitter @USAFMC.

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